I'm at it again. I had so much fun developing the Hubbardton, 1777 scenario for "Live Free or Die" that I'm taking on a bigger, badder, and meaner scenario. This time we're dipping our toes into the warm waters of the Mediterranean during Operation "Husky," the invasion of Sicily in 1943.
|Husky Invasion Plan
Husky was the opportunity for the western Allies to learn that when things go wrong in an Airborne operation, they usually go very wrong. That's not to say it was all bad, though. The tough, exceptionally well-trained British and American Airborne forces fought against long odds amidst some of the most difficult circumstances and prevailed.
For my purposes, I want a hard-fought, gritty battle that showcases the fighting in Sicily. To me that says steep hills, arid plains, paratroopers, and the Hermann Goering Panzer Division. The Battle of Biazza Ridge gives me all of those elements.
|505th PIR Attacks!
At Biazza Ridge, the American 82nd Airborne Division's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) attacked into the shoulder of the Hermann Goering Division's advance against Gela and the landing beaches. This was a difficult and bitter action with the American Airborne eventually prevailing.
|82nd Airborne Patch "All American"
|Divisional symbol of the Fallschirm-Panzer Division 1 Hermann Göring
Here was a battle where troop quality, leadership, and cohesion meant more than weapons as the HG Division brought Panzers, to include Tiger tanks, to bear against the Americans. I'd like to showcase the excitement and tension of the battle on the tabletop, as well as the importance of their leaders. To me that says this battle needs a gritty, tactical set of rules.
This battle is screaming for the Battlegroup treatment. But since there are no Sicily supplements for Battlegroup, we'll have to "improvise, adapt, and overcome" as the Airborne say. So expect this battle to get the same treatment we gave to Hubbardton, with a post on the OOB, the terrain, and perhaps some other scenario design aspects!
So with all that said, here are some of the resources I'll be using for my research into the Battle of Biazza Ridge:
- Sicily & The Surrender of Italy. CMH Publication 6-2-1. If you dont have this publication by the US Army's Center for Military History, I urge you to download it and read it. These compositions are some of the best resources a wargamer can have. They are written extremely smoothly and seamlessly weave in the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of planning with plenty of juicy detail on the operation and also the lessons learned by the Armies involved. CMH Pub 6-2-1 is one of those timeless classics you should have!
- The US Airborne & Special Operations Museum page on the Husky Operations including Biazza Ridge with some cool pictures.
- An excellent account of how the Biazza Ridge battle unfolded along with some great personal accounts of the 505th PIR before and during the jump into Sicily along with subsequent combat operations, which will come in handy when we are developing the scenario and characteristics to add flavor to it.
- Excellent Battle Account of Biazza Ridge, including terrain, pictures and a rare pic of Colonel Gavin around the time of the battle.
- Another Battle Account of Biazza Ridge.
- A Breakthrough Assault piece on the HG Division.
- Wikipedia page on the Hermann Goering Panzer Division
Now time to crawl up into our attic and grab my US Paratroopers and start painting!